For the last five years it has been possible to use MHX (MakeHuman eXchange) to transfer a rigged MakeHuman character into Blender. However, the MHX format had a number of issues. To remedy these, it will be replaced by a new MHX2 format.
For a variety of reasons, MHX2 is not bundled with MakeHuman, but is available as a separate third-party plugin. The currently stable version of the MHX2 exporter and importer, v 0.26, can be downloaded from here. For other versions see this page. The purpose of this blog is to host the MHX2 documentation. The starting page for the documentation is https://thomasmakehuman.wordpress.com/mhx2-documentation/, which is also linked to by the MHX2 importer.
MHX2 is in not compatible with MHX, because they are based on completely different design philosophies. An MHX file was essentially a python script, with non-standard syntax, that built a rigged character in Blender. In contrast, an MHX2 file contains full information about the exported MakeHuman meshes, which enables the MHX2 importer to build the character, using knowledge about the MakeHuman mesh. Thus in MHX the rigging was done in MakeHuman, whereas it is done in Blender in MHX2.
This has a number of advantages. The code is simpler to understand, because it is a standard python script rather than a program that writes a script. Also, the MHX2 format by itself is not Blender specific. It is possible to write MHX2 importers for other 3D applications as well, because the MHX2 file contains no Blender-specific information.
Here are some to the features available with the Blender MHX2 importer:
- Particle hair
- Genitalia seamlessly integrated with body mesh
- Facial shapes, driven by rig properties or by intuitively shaped bones
- Mask modifiers, for hiding skin under clothes in a non-destructive way
- Visibility drivers, for hiding clothes compatible with file linking.
- A choice of armatures, including:
- The advanced MHX rig
- The rig exported from MakeHuman
- A variety of rigs for specific target application.
The MHX2 pipeline is now more or less feature complete. The quality of the assets is not perfect, and additional assets should be added, but I don’t expect that the code will change very much in the future.